According to the Calgary Harold, on July 20, Thomas Lukaszuk, the province’s employment and immigration minister, had this to say about the temporary foreign worker program:
In my opinion, it was a program that had fulfilled its mandate, (by) suddenly providing a large number of workers to an economy that suddenly had a massive shortage of workers.
It’s not working well now. It’s a temporary solution to a permanent problem.
Lukaszuk goes on to note that many of the province’s temporary foreign workers want to stay beyond the duration of their work permit, however, because the temporary program is not supposed to be a gateway to long-term residency, the same employers keep on hiring new foreign workers for the same jobs.
Why not consider some permanency (for) this workforce. I always joke the only group that really benefits from the current temporary foreign worker program is Air Canada, because they’re flying people in and out
There are in fact several ways for a temporary foreign workers in Alberta to achieve permanent residence. These include:
- Applying for permanent residence under the Canada Experience Class. This program is practically designed for temporary foreign workers. Indeed, CIC’s website introduces the program by saying “if you are a temporary foreign worker….” To be eligible, the temporary foreign worker must have at least two years of full-time (or equivilant) work experience in a managerial, professional, or technical / skilled trades occupation, be proficient in either English or French, and currently be in Canada.
- Applying under the Alberta PNP Program. According to the FAQ on the Alberta PNP website:
I have an employee who is a temporary foreign worker and I would like to retain him or her for a permanent position. Does the AINP accept applications for candidates who are temporary foreign workers?
Yes. The temporary foreign worker must be working in an occupation listed under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code in Skill Levels 0, A, B. In addition, some NOC C and D occupations are also eligible under the AINP. Please visit the Semi-Skilled Worker section of the website for information on eligible NOC C and D occupations.
Our firm constantly looks at ways of moving British Columbian temporary foreign workers out of the “temporary” category and into the “permanent”. My guess is that most Alberta law firms do as well, and temporary works in Alberta should know that there may be options for them to become permanent residents.